American Morning

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September 16th, 2009
10:25 AM ET

Twitter user outs president's 'jackass' comment

President Obama thought his comments about Kanye West were off the record when he called the singer a "jackass." They came during an interview with CNBC. The remark was overheard by people at ABC who then tweeted about it. So just what is fair game for tweeting while you are at work?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/16/lewis.regina.art.jpg caption="Regina Lewis says it's important for employees to know their company's social networking policy."]

Regina Lewis is AOL’s consumer adviser and author of "Wired in a Week." She spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.

John Roberts: Let's just illuminate for folks at home what the tweet was that sort of launched a thousand conversations. It said, “Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a 'jackass' for his outburst at the VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT'S presidential.” ABC News says it was wrong for that tweet to go out. So I guess the caution here is be careful what you tweet these days?

Regina Lewis: Yeah. They are saying the threshold should be the same as if it was published on ABC.com, which has raised all kinds of questions within the journalism community. But it extends beyond that to everybody else at work. And that's got a lot of companies scrambling to update their business code of conduct and create things called acceptable use policies around social networking, which tweets would fall under.

President Obama calls Kanye West a "jackass" Video

Roberts: The "Wall Street Journal" says business and pleasure should not be mixed. Folks at IBM are telling their employees to stay away from controversial topics. It is a new twist of business that they have to have social networking policies.

Lewis: Absolutely. And it can happen very quickly. You certainly want to know your company's policy. Generally speaking there are two kinds of Twitter accounts or social networking profiles: Company-sponsored, and those are usually run by the marketing department or the PR folks, versus an individual account. And this is where the lines blur because most people have things that they are talking about that are personal and professional.

The second that you post – even if it is just in your information area – that you work at x-company, odds are now your company is going to say "okay, so all of this is fair game because you are representing us." That's why the IBMs of the world encourage people to write in first person so that it is clear that it is your point of view and not the company's. And if needed, and maybe ask this, should I put a disclaimer that says anything I post here doesn't necessarily reflect the views of my company.

Roberts: Sports in particular have some unique challenges and unique issues to tackle. U.S. Tennis Association warned athletes during the U.S. Open not to tweet about matches, court conditions, injury status, etc., saying that could constitute illegal gambling.

Lewis: Yeah. Every industry has their own nuances. So take a public company for example. Are there forward looking thoughts that could spark insider trading? Are there patents? Is it proprietary information? And this kind of goes back to the president's off-the-cuff remarks, which are considered off the record.

What if I happened to see a bunch of guys in suits in the lobby and started to tweet that "wow, they looked happy, I smell a merger"? That's the kind of comments just based on what you see. You have to play it out in your head. Be careful what you wish for. And of course on the most effective tweets, the ones just like the Kanye West words out of the president's mouth are the ones that are controversial and spread very quickly. ABC pulled that tweet down, but was too late. It was already out there.

Roberts: So obviously it’s a challenge for companies always to stay ahead of the new technology. This is exploding as well. Might there come a day when they either have to monitor people's use of Twitter and Facebook or maybe restrict it? And what about people who do tweet or use Facebook during working hours? What should they keep in mind?

Lewis: Well, you should keep in mind if the company owns the computer, they may have rules about "hey, on work time, that's out of bounds. It’s our computer and we are paying you." So watch that. But keep in mind, people are doing this on their cell phones as well. Everybody has a personal cell phone. So where do you draw the line? Also, most companies don't want to forgo the potential upsides. Some of your most engaged employees are commenting on industry blogs. They like that. That reflects positively on the company. So they just need checks and balances in place so you get the upside without the potential downside.


Filed under: Technology
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Don Hamilton

    Ancient chinese riddle: how many people on cnn.com does it take to make the same point?

    September 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  2. Johnny Baker

    Kanye West is a Jackass and his actions are usually disrespectful and self serving. Kudos to President Obama for
    recognizing it.

    September 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  3. James

    HA! People who say Obama has no business commenting on this forget that almost every person who heard about Kanye's idiotic and insensitive blunder had an opinion/comment about it. Being the president doesn't suddenly end your humanity. You still have opinions about all kinds of things, whether huge or mundane. And you still have a right to that opinion and to express it. Of all people to deny the right of the 1st amendment to, only an idiot would deny it to the leader of the country that gurantees it to them!

    September 16, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  4. Mary

    I believe that civility has gone down the drain in recent years. Our children are beating up on other children at an alarming rate and no one seems to care. The people like S. Williams and Kayne should be role models for our youth, but instead they are down right rude and
    profane. As far as Joe Wilson, he should lose his congressional seat after his outburst. This is an elected official who heckled and disrespected our president,. Furthermore he is no better than the man in Iraq who threw his shoes at President Bush. That man served jail time, maybe we should put this jerk Wilson in jail for a few months and see if he wil learn his lesson!!!!

    September 16, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  5. tony

    The President was/is right. West is a jackass. Why is something so stupid like this news? Its just like when PETA slammed Obama for swatting a fly during an interview. Lets get "real" people!

    September 16, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  6. Scott

    I agree with all of you that state Kayne and Joe Wilson are jackasses. I am actually glad to have a president that makes a statement like that, it makes him more normal, more real. Tell it like it is... and for the moron who said the President should be talking about more important things than Kayne... uh, he is human you know. He does have other things in his life outside of the Presidency... like maybe watching the VMA's with his daughters.. and if someone asked him, in private, what he thought, why should he not answer?

    September 16, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  7. Amir

    Knight.......I like a President with an opinion. And that opinion does not necessarily have to be about Politics. It alows me to understand a little more about the man who's responsible for the lives of 300 million people. That beats having a President that is told hold to think and how to act by certain interest groups.

    September 16, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  8. David Y

    While most people agree with Obama's assessment, why is the President participating in celebrity gossips? He has a much more important job to do then comment on this very trivial incident.

    Much like his comments about the Cambridge police acting "stupidly", I believe Obama should keep out of these isolated incidents and focus on keeping America safe.

    September 16, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  9. Stephanie

    Kanye West is a jackass. He is known for his rudeness. The man has made some decent music, but I will never purchase any of it because I refuse to support someone who is just so self centered!

    Yes, Obama has an opinion on everything. But who doesn't? Everyone takes notice and get their panties in a bunch every time just because he is the President.

    If I was President, I would be in trouble, because I have a lot to say!

    Cut the guy some slack. And I really wish Twitter would just cease to exist!

    September 16, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  10. jamie

    Well, it sounds like to me, Mr. Jim, that you might be ignorant yourself. First of all, his name is Kanye, not Kahne. Secondly, no one has ever said that these people were justified in what they said. You made that assumption. Yes, all three are black, as you were suggesting, but to compare what Joe Wilson called the President of the United States to erratic behavior displayed by a few entertainers, is quite IGNORANT in itself....you act as if there have never been "white people" who were famous to throw temper tantrums...If that had been a "black" representative to call President Bush, "a lie"., then how would you look at it???? Its the respect all citizens owe him as the Commander in Chief of this great country that makes his statement absurd......just goes to show that racism is still alive........

    September 16, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  11. Cathi

    Obama expressed his opinion and I agree with him. Kanye IS a jackass! Serena overreacted when she expressed her disagreement and she paid the price for it. However, Kanye and Joe Wilson expressed their opinions in such a way that they demonstrated lack of restraint and intelligence.

    September 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  12. Otis

    Perhaps Congress should admonish President Obama for not being very presidential too. Seems that's all Congress can get done these days...

    September 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  13. rose

    Jim... refer to the article above... its spelled K-A-N-Y-E. Maybe there is some truth to President Carter's remarks because those first three have something else in common, don't they. How could you possibly lump in the President of the United States with an entertainer and an athlete, yet defend Joe Wilson. Unbelievable.

    September 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  14. Wanda

    People are going to start losing jobs, not being able to get jobs, and start to suffer greatly from all these tweets, twitters, etc. -
    the old saying "some things are better left unsaid" is going to really begin to ring true in America!

    September 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  15. bubbamanCT

    Do a little google search on our friend Jim Vicalvi, 306 North Lakeview, Strugis MI and he seems to have an opinion anytime there is an article about blacks...what a tool!

    September 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  16. Joshua Olmos Utah

    You're comparing an inappropriate compulsive turrets syndrome outburst (Joe Wilson) to a question the Presidents opinion was required to answer?

    September 16, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  17. James

    jim v... are you serious? Second, how is this news? who cares what obama thinks about kayne

    September 16, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  18. Alex

    Yup, Joe Wilson broken decorum, was admonished, that's fine. He was rude to the President of the United States, called up to apologize, that's fine.

    The out of control actions are 1) calling him a racist for disagreeing with the President, and 2) the petty behavior of the Democratic caucus

    You are mad at Joe Wilson and give money to his opponent, that's free speech. You feel he needs to be admonished for breaking decorum rules, that's fine, he broke House rules, cite him. What was petty was "demanding he apologize on the house floor or be admonished." If you want to admonish him, just do it, don't act like you are disciplining a 5 year old. He's a US Congressman, and is entitled to the respect of that office, even if he failed to extend it to the President.

    Hey, he didn't bludgeon anyone with a cane, so he's not even the most unruly Congressman from south Carolina! 🙂

    September 16, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  19. bosco

    i would not be involve in any success that could change the way things are like kenya, grow up hello,that dosnt motivate me , lol ,yes obama is right he bring change that will help people like him get better , so what!

    September 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  20. Delena

    So how is this any different from the republican shouting out 'you lie'? Both comments are disrespectful and what happens to the Republican. He gets scrutinized for weeks and what will happen with Obama? Probably nothing. That was rude and although I'm not happy with Kanye West for doing that, that doesn't mean Obama should get on a public site and call him a Jackass...That is ridiculous and childish. Grow up Obama.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  21. CountryGirl_08

    I suppose its okay for everyone else to have an opinion about what Kayne did but not the PRESIDENT! this is a country of free speech even for the PRESIDENT! He gave his opinion and not its a big issue! They (MEDIA) should not have asked if they could not handle the answer! give it a rest. Let the PRESIDENT run the country and not have to answer to petty issues about what a stupid person said on live TV, and yes I called Kayne STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  22. tjntx

    Obama, Kanye and Serena all share something alright, race, and that's all. Kanye and Serena were out of line for their comments because of when and where they voiced them and that puts them in the same boat with Wilson. My question is WHY was President Obama even asked a question about Kanye West? No one would have asked such a thing of former President Bush and in the event that they would, they would not have disrespected him by "leaking" his response. Is race playing a factor here? YES, along with plenty of ignorance from Obama haters.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  23. miles

    Ignorance, Jim, is not knowing your facts.

    Joe Wilson violated parliamentary procedure. The house resolution called the outburst "a breach of decorum [that] degraded the proceedings of the joint session, to the discredit of the House."

    As for the others ... everything is fine?

    Serena lost her match due to a point deduction for her behavior.

    Kanye West is trying to repair his career after an admitted stupid error in judgment - one that he has apologized for.

    Listen... JFK once called all businessmen SOBs. I think Kanye (and the rest of the world) will survive Obama's jackass remark.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  24. Red

    The question is not whether or not people have (or are entitled to) their own opinions. Everyone has opinions, but the question lies in how we share them. Kanye and Wilson were in the wrong because they expressed their opinions inappropriately and without regard for others. Obama expressed his in what he thought was an off-the-record conversation, where his thoughts were not likely to affect the intended person, or gather attention.

    Be rational.

    If you don't like your boss at work, you would most likely keep that fact to yourself. You might tell that to a friend you can confide in, but you wouldn't expect your friend to tell your boss. Similarly, if you wanted to confront your boss about your concerns, it wouldn't necessarily be appropriate to shout "I hate you!" in a crowded meeting with the whole company.

    No matter what issue we address, we all need to think about who we share information with and what the consequences of that sharing may be.

    When in doubt, shut your mouth!

    September 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  25. Lisa

    Kanye expressed his opinion during someone else's moment – if it was after, fine – during = wrong. Serena was mad at a bogus call (rightly so) however, behaved badly and in a threatening manner towards the line judge = wrong. Joe Wilson shouted during a speech by the POTUS in front of congress. Maybe after he could have said that he didn't agree with the President – but during = wrong. Obama was expressing a comment not during a speech or while he was at an official appearance = okay to say. And, he was right in what he said. It's not wrong that Kanye, and Wilson, and Serena had an opinion – it's when they expressed it that is at issue. And whomever tweeted what the POTUS said about Kanye is a jackass.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  26. MKThompson

    sir you can't even compare what Wilson did to Pres. Obama's comment about Kanye...and it was in private...he is human.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  27. Katrina Gonzales

    Jim Vicalvi, it saddens me to see racism in your comment. Let me guess the only thing you probably agree with Obama is the comment he made about Kayne. We all agree what he did was inappropriate (Kayne). You feel that only Joe Wilson is being picked on and not the others? After reading your comment, "we all know what the first 3 share". "Ignorance" may have been your answer but not the tone of your rant". I expected to see a response to the color of their skin., because your comment was that UGLY.

    Bush was a C student in school and yet he was president for 8 years and look at the direction of our country. No matter what the current president does you are judging him by the color of his skin here, not by the content of his character. SHAME ON YOU. This country is taking steps backwards with the racist attitudes that are still very alive and well with people like you. You want to build a wall to keep out the illegals from Mexico and not all are Mexican. But you never comment about building a wall up north where terrorist have entered as the color up north maybe closer to your skin color. You put race into this with your opinion.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  28. Lisa Greve

    To Jim Vicalvi:

    The issue with Joe Wilson shouting "you lie!" is not about Mr. Wilson expressing his opinion or being unfairly considered "wrong," as you say. It's that he violated House rules. It's an issue of conduct, not speech.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  29. Howard Alexander

    Looking at jim vicalvi statement I see President Obama, Kanye West & Serena Wilson names are all in lower case. Joe Wilson name is properly capitalized. Enough said.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  30. Char

    Knight, in reference to your comment, the President wasn't minding anyone's business, he was asked a question...get it.. he was asked a question by a new reporter off the record who just so happened to make a mistake and put it on twitter... yes a just so happened mistake... get it... do you really get it?????

    September 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  31. Dana

    In response to all that posted here saying why in the world did Pres Obama comment on this since he has more important things to do – he was ASKED about this incident, it is not like he was holding a press conference about this issue.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  32. Steve Costello

    @jim vicalvi: Thanks for voicing your...um... opinion. Everyone does have them. It is all in how you express them. Kanye West expressed his opinion on a public stage; Serena Williams expressed her opinion in the middle of the U.S. Open, an internationally televised major sporting event. Joe Wilson expressed his comment on the floor of a joint session, with the President of the United States speaking, an event that is televised around the world.

    President Obama expressed his opinion in what was supposed to be an off-the-record, private comment that was overheard by someone else who repeated that comment to a zillion people via Twitter.

    Big difference there.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  33. Jeff

    While most would agree that the President makes a good point when referring to Mr. West as a "jackass", it should be assumed that when you're the President of the United States there really aren't any "private moments". President, or not, if you call someone a jackass in public, be prepared for people to Tweet, Facebook, gossip, or discuss it.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  34. Jonathan

    Jim – There is a difference between what Obama said, and what Wilson did; what Obama said was off-air, not intended for anyone to hear other than those around him. It was in conversation only, nothing more. Wilson, on the other hand, broke the un-spoken law that you simply DO NOT insult the character of the President of the United States in public, ESPECIALLY in the middle of the President's speach. What Wilson did was akin to the Iraqi throwing a shoe at Bush Jr. It's insulting, and it makes me sad to think that some Americans will never accept Obama, no matter what.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  35. jb

    There's a difference between expressing an opinion in what was supposed to be off the record (even though it was foolish of obama to do so even then) and expressing it in an open session of Congress, that was televised no less.

    Wilson and Obama both made faux pas remarks. Wilson's was the more serious not because of what party he's in, but because of the venue in which he made it .

    September 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  36. Tony

    Everyone can express opinions. Obama said something while watching TV, and whether anyone changes their opinion of him because of it is up to them. There aren't any rules in place except for freedom of speech. Serena lost her match because of her 'opinion' so she got punished because of the rules. Kanye got thrown out of the VMAs and is punished in the public eye of people not buying his music or changing their opinions of him or not inviting him to events (though as we know celebs will get away with more). Joe Wilson made an outburst he shouldn't have and is also getting in trouble for it.

    In 3 of those cases, people broke the rules of the event they were attending and dealt with. Obama can say what he wants no more special than you writing your opinion on here for people to read. Ignorance is somehow using these examples to justify being a Wilson/Rep supporter and thinking he's being unfairly punished.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  37. James

    Joe Wilson is an idiot. He yells out that the prez is a liar? I am not a big fan of Obama, but at least have the respect to listen to him and then speak your mind. Joe Wilson just wanted someone to know who he was because he is a nobody, plain and simple.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  38. Adam

    Kanye is a jack-a. Not opinion, fact. Obama has a voice, opinions, and the same rights as anyone else...Freedom of speech. Why scrutinize him for the same thing that every American does every day atleast once, voice his or her opinion.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  39. Steve

    jim vicalvi wrote: While I agree with obama, it seems that he has an opinion about everything. And, everybody knows what opinions are like!! obama, kahne and serena can all express their opinions and everything is just fine. But, Joe Wilson expresses his and immediately he is wrong. But, then, we all know what the first 3 share. IGNORANCE!!

    The problem IS NOT Joe Wilson's opinion, it is how he expressed that opinion, or it may be you share that ignorance you claim the other three have? It was wrong when K took the mike from that girl, he was wrong. When Joe Wilson called the president a liar at his address to the joint houses of congress, that was wrong too and you know it. How would you feel if someone interrupted you and called you a liar at work? Or at a family reunion? Or any other public speaking event? How about if someone calls your preacher a liar during a sermon? Would that be "just an opinion" then?

    Grow up and get a life. If you cannot see the difference, then go back to reading comic books and leave the real thinking to the adults.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  40. Ben

    Jim V, did you just really write that? Ignorance? he was ASKED a question and he answered, he did force it out there..HE WAS ASKED!
    Obama, Kanye (learn to spell) and Serena...interesting selection of people Jim..but I won't air out my opinion of you, that's obvious!

    BTW, when you're boss is speaking in a meeting, do you stand up and interrupt them in them in the middle of their sentence?...hmmm perhaps you should try that and let us know how it worked out for you...Jacka$$

    September 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  41. salesguy

    Kanye was wrong and wrong is wrong...Doesn't matter party affiliation, race, etc...He was wrong...Go President Obama!!!

    September 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  42. Are you kidding

    Jim, you are probably one of those people that had a fit about Obama speaking to kids.. Talk about ignorance.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  43. Rick McDaniel

    Irregardless of proper or not, I was actually pleased to see, that Obama condemned the racism of Kanye West.

    Now if he would also condemn the racist label Jimmy Carter made against Mr. Wilson, I will give Obama credit where credit is due, that racism should not be tolerated by anyone, even as a political ploy for the Democratic Party, by a former president......who has made himself a laughingstock with his blatantly political accusation!

    September 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  44. Mike S.

    Jim, Joe Wilson had an outburst while Obama was in the middle of a speech. That's a little different than Obama sharing his opinion when asked. Kanye (not kahne), Serena, and Joe all had inappropriate outbursts, and no, they were not "alright". Obama was being interviewed and someone brought it up.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  45. elizabeth

    what are you TALKING about? kanye and serena were both blasted for their comments. joe wilson interrupted an official presidential speech yelling an insult, and was also blasted. i've seen just as much press about kanye west as i have about joe wilson. besides, the people who say these controversial things can't control how people react, they just have to deal with the backlash.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  46. bubbamanCT

    gee Jim Vicori or whatever you name was..you don't sound like you might be a racist...hmmmm.

    Of course everyone has an opinion..and they were just exchanging small talk. He was not giving his opinion out for public scrutiny. You're a jack*ass too!

    September 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  47. Brandon Thomas

    jim vicalvi: The difference HERE is that OBAMA did not INTERUPT Anyone to call KANYE a Jackass!

    I think its perfectly fine for obama to say it, What is so wrong with the president having an opinion about something! People also complained about Michelle Obama stepping off a plane in a White Tshirt and Comfy Shorts! So What, Atleast Barack and Michelle are showing people that being PRESIDENT and First LADY is not getting to them! They can run the country and still be NORMAL PEOPLE!

    September 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  48. Ken

    Outrageous behavoir is subject to criticism no matter the forum. The President expressed what every other viewer thought, he is succinct in his description. However, Kayne stays in the limelight as does Joe Wilson who is subject to the same criticism. There is an appropriate forum for dissession!

    Ken

    September 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  49. IB from Boston

    TO Jim Vicalvi:

    Joe Wilson had every right to address the president but the venue at which it happened is totally and absolutely wrong. When the president is addressing members of the congress and the house, you show respect and never interupt the president while giving a speech. It was classless and dissapointing to see that. I think race might have to do with it cuz Joe Wilson dare not do that when Bush was president. His next stop would have been Guantanamo Prison.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  50. Dan, TX

    jim vicalvi: to be fair, context does matter.

    Everyone makes comments in private that they would be embarrassed by in public. Letting emotional steam off by making comments that you don't actually believe yourself is common. However, the floor of the House during a presidential address is in no way comparable to off handed remarks or remarks made in the heat of an athletic competition. Let's put it in context. The Joe Wilson's of the world can't control their emotions. They are to be condemned because they are a very poor example of the behavior we want in our society.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  51. Andy Al

    Jim, you must be an idiot. I mean, really, an idiot. You completely missed the point; Joe Wilson expressed his opinion in a most inappropriate fashion. Kanye's opinion was not welcomed warmly. Everybody and their mother jumped on his back and called him every name in the book. Serena Williams was booed when she stepped onstage at the Video Music Awards. Obama expresses his opinion and is booed daily. He's the President of the United States. Show some rationality.

    You are the real ignoramus. Thanks for making us Republicans look bad. Idiot.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  52. Melissa

    The fault shouldn't lie with the man who tweeted, the President should know that nothing said "Off the Record" is really off the record. There is no such things as Off the Record when you're the President of the United States.

    Even in Lawyer/Client Privilege, if you say something to your lawyer and there are other people present, privilege does not apply. The comment may have been off the record for the person to whom he was speaking, but that didn't apply to those eavesdropping.

    He should've just kept his mouth shut even though what he said was completely accurate.

    I'm not even going to get into how wrong it was to reprimand Joe Wilso.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  53. Karen Erickson

    These people – Kanye, Serena, and Joe Wilson (and arguably I suppose, Obama) – expressed their opinions in an unacceptable, rude, and/or ill-advised manner. There is nothing wrong with sharing one's opinion in the right place and time and manner. Joe Wilson was admonished for his inappropriate outburst, not because he's a Republican or "speaking the truth."

    September 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  54. WN

    Folks, get a life! Whether it's Wilson or Obama, we're all human and if we cannot get over missteps we are doomed as a nation. This does not reflect on party or policies and is diluting the national debate on substantial issues that we can swept under the rug to date. I commend Obama for having the guts to start the debate, though I think we (the people) should own it now.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  55. Don Hamilton

    Kanye needs to do something else weird. I'm not distracted enough right now.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  56. Wayne

    Humans are humans. Obama ain't no messiah, he's just the prez. He's got that freedom of speech too, ya know. BTW, speaking of free speech, does anyone else notice the infrequency of stories on this CNN site with the option to post comments?

    ALSO, it's a bit different to call a rapper a jackass during pre-interview banter and call the PRESIDENT OF THE USA a liar during a congressional address.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  57. Jonathan

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion even if your the head of a country. Everyone member president bush flicking off cameras =3

    September 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  58. Jere

    To this I would say that it takes one to know one.

    And to all journalists out there - NOTHING said by a president should be off the record. If the president speaks his opinion/position out loud then it should be for the public consumption. Also, the president should be smart enough to know that anything he says within hearing distance of a journalist is automatically on the record.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  59. Nadeja Steager

    I think the president should apologize for what he said, regardless of who it was about or why he said it. Just because we think no one is listening doesn't mean we should be able to behave in any way that would be dishonoring. . .after all isn't integrity saying and doing the right thing even when no one is watching.

    On another note, it is great to finally have a president in my day who speaks of accountability and responsibility for what we say and for our actions. . .What we are in our words when we are absent, we must be in our actions when we are present, surely our President will respond in a way that we would all be proud of. . .we understand he is only human as are the rest of us.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  60. Ryan

    Knight, in what way is having a view of pop culture distracting Obama from doing his job? There is nothing wrong with having an opinion on something non-political. He's a sports fan as well, would you prefer he stop watching games altogether?

    September 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  61. arlene

    President Obama has a right to his opinion – and I agree; Joe Wilson made is comment in a formal congressional setting and although he has a right to his opinion, he was a jackass to disrupt the setting and disrespect the leader of the free world. To compare these 2 very different incidences is really ignorant!!!

    September 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  62. Ivan Rawls

    The President ahs a broad vacabulary he could have used another, but I'm not sure it would have been proportional Kanye disconcerting behavior?

    September 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  63. cwdc

    Dude, who cares! This is so trivial on the grand scheme of things.

    F Twitter

    September 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  64. Lance Robinson

    If you are holding the Video Music Awards, the U.S. Tennis Open and the U.S. Congress in the same regards, the only ignorance involved here Jim is yours.

    You're probably a guy who thinks the prison sentence of the Iraqi shoe-throwing Journalist was too short. And that Joe Wilson's verbal-shoe-throwing is just peachy-keen. You need to see them for the similar activities they are. More importantly, you need to see that the U.S. Congress is not the Jerry Springer Show, and that it has rules of behavior, particularly when the highest elected official in the land is making a rare address to both houses of Congress.

    If Joe Wilson can't hold his tongue when someone else is speaking, he doesn't have the control of a 3 year old. And you need to be smart enough to understand that if somebody disagrees with a speaker, that doesn't mean they have the right to interrupt him. This is not a town-hall and Joe Wilson is not a health-care-paid interrupter who got bused in by a corporation.

    Or is he?

    September 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  65. Mij Ivlaciv

    Obama didn't express his opinion in an official formal setting, not did he interrupt a speaker to do so. You are stretching to connect the two, give it a break.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  66. Ashley J

    Jim- you are the most ingorant person ive read on this page.

    Serena was punished so you know, and still being punished. Check your facts.

    However, there is no way to 'punish' Kayne while I don't think what he did was right, he has freedom of speech on his side. My only hope is that MTV will not let him back.

    As far as Obama is conserned, he also has freedom of speech. It may not have been right to say 'jackass' but your going to compare that to what Joe did? Joe dilibratly downsized the president of the united states. I don't care what president it is, you do not interrupt them.

    He never interrupted any of the idiotic things Bush said. Wonder why that is...perhaps your being ignorant. No?

    September 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  67. nickyp

    One other point on WHY Wilson was wrong. Again, it's because of when and where he chose to utter his opinion.
    ***************
    As stated in Cannon’s Precedents, on January 27, 1909, the House adopted a report in response to improper references in debate to the President. That report read in part as follows:

    "It is... the duty of the House to require its Members in speech or debate to preserve that proper restraint which will permit the House to conduct its business in an orderly manner and without unnecessarily and unduly exciting animosity among its Members or antagonism from those other branches of the Government with which the House is correlated."

    September 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  68. Mike from Canada

    Mr. Kanye West was lucky.

    Prez. Obama could have called him far worse and still be fairly accurate.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  69. auximenes

    jim vicalvi,

    We also know what you share, at that is racism. Thanks for playing.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  70. john brown

    Jim - are you serious?? Serena was penalized for her "outburst", Kanye was escorted out of Radio City. Why? Their outburst were disruptive, as was Joe Wilson. Joe could have tweeted he's a liar, could have held a news conference after, saying he was a liar, etc.

    Obama was having a private conversation, that's the difference.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  71. David

    well the truth is West was a jackass for doing that on the stage. BUT the issue is that, is it nesserry for Obama came out say things like that? Is this really Obama's business? remember he did something like this with the police officer, and college professor too.
    For Joe Wilson, I believe that Dem need to drop the subject on this, cause he has already say sorry to Obama already and he accept already. This country need to a good leader, but unfortunally we don't have one yet. All I'm saying is, it doesn't matter if you are president of US or not, be very careful on what you say and who you say to.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  72. clark

    I also noticed that the three people who u say are ignorant happened to be black as well....racism is still alive they just be concealing it. Wilson is out of order and im glad they proposed a resolution to condemn. Should have threw his ass out the building.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  73. d.s.

    People need to just stop! Everyone knows what Kanye West did was just W-R-O-N-G! Period! I'm tired of everyone trying to be "politically" correct these days. Pres. Obama just said what EVERYONE else was thinking! Kanye was a jackass for that stint he pulled....even Kayne KNOWS what he did was wrong. So what is the big deal about Pres. Obama calling him a jackass..........HE WAS A JACKASS people!

    September 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  74. colin

    Jim Vicalvi, you're putting Obama in the same category as Serena Williams and Kanye? An off-the-record, accurate statement vs. two very public, very rude meltdowns?

    And you accuse them of ignorance, using Joe Wilson's outburst as a bastion of rationality. Great. Glad you're part of our community.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  75. Yololite

    Jim again you have missed the mark. Joe Wilson INSULTED congress. It was a formal address. You are confusing apples with oranges. Then again one has to socially adept to know the difference.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  76. Charles Linder

    I personally think that the president can say what he wants. He is entitled to his opnion

    September 16, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  77. greg

    The question I have is who thinks it is news when a jackass acts like a jackass? Obama is too polite in my opinion with his defenition of Kanye West.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  78. Nancy B

    Jim – wow! You're comparing Obama's 1-on-1 discussion of his opinion with Serena's threat to shove a ball down a line judge's throat on National (or International) TV? Seems a bit off-base. And, I think the fact that Joe Wilson rudely yelled out during a televised session of Congress and during a President's speech is not just 'expressing his opinion'. If they all expressed their opinions that way during a speech, we'd never hear the speech! Get with reality!!

    September 16, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  79. Doug

    Wilson is the ignorant one and should be thrown out of office.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  80. Jon Rhinesmith

    He calls it like he (and most of the country) see it. What's wrong with that?

    September 16, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  81. John

    Well He was right to say the truth about the mtv awards Kanye.Joe Wilson was only spreading lies because the big insurance has to much to loose with health care reform.Republicans manipulate anyhing thats going to keep the big bussiness from lining their pocket.Thats just how it is decieve the sheeple and Im from the south and I see their deception all the time.Some of these people here will fall for anything

    September 16, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  82. Char

    I disagree on your comment what they share Jim Vicalvi, Ignorance is the news reporter who asked the President the question in the first place and deceived him and reported it, even though it was off the record. If you do not want the President to answer a question, then you should not ask it. Even though you have disdain for all three, they were not in a decorum of the United States as was Joe Wilson, that is the difference. It is not what Wilson said, it was the time and place where he said it.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  83. Tyler

    Jim, that's an ignorant to compare an off-the-record comment with a disruption of a presidential speech. It doesn't matter if Joe Wilson truly believes what he said or not, that was a breach of decorum and way out of line. It is pretty black and white. And I love how you claim everyone else is ignorant when you just posted an extremely racist remark. Go back to your KKK meeting already.

    Shame on you CNN for even letting his post slip through.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  84. JD

    President Obama, of all people, should have known that there is nothing "off the record" when dealing with the press, even when he's got them in his back pocket.

    Interesting to note that people are "outraged" that this comment got out, when the press was looking for any and all opportunities to expose comments and flubs by President Bush. Guess it pays to be the sweetheart of the "unbiased" media.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  85. Christina

    President Obama hit the nail on the head. Kayne should have kept his big, fat mouth shut!

    September 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  86. Bothered

    wow, jim. speaking of ignorance, your comment seems to fall under that category, as well.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  87. Ben

    Are you honestly comparing Obama responding to a question he was asked in private with Joe Wilson shouting out in the middle of a speech by the President?

    September 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  88. Don Hamilton

    You sir, are a moron. Your argument is flawed and illogical and you should be embarrassed for having it.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  89. Bob

    I guess Kanye will proclaim President Obama doesnt like black people just like the words Kanye spoke about President Bush

    September 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  90. Ryan

    Everyone agrees with Obama. Joe Wilson made the mistake by yelling out during a presidential speech. That is in no way comparable to Obama's off-the-record comments. It would appear that Wilson's comments have more in common with Kanye and Serena's. There is nothing wrong with having an opinion, but there are appropriate ways to express them otherwise no one will take you seriously.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  91. Melissa

    President Obama is right, sorry. You'll just have to deal with it.

    And for the billionth time, Wilson was wrong, not because of what he said, but because of when he said it. Get it through your thick skulls already.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  92. Dee Dee Lynn

    As usual Jim V. you and people like you fail to understand that context is everything.

    There is a big difference between stating, at a time you believe you are off the record, that Kanye West, a known and well-established jackass is a jackass and interrupting the President of the United States during a formal address to call him a liar.

    In fact, if there is a parallel between the Kanye issue and the Joe Wilson issue, it is a parallel between the behavior of Kanye and Joe Wilson.

    Kanye interrupted (and insulted) Taylor Swift in the middle of her acceptance speech. Joe Wilson interrupted President Obama in the middle of his address.

    So Jim that means that Kanye West is a jackass AND Joe Wilson is a jackass.

    And you can tweet that if you like.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  93. Bryan

    Ok Jim, let's play your game.

    Serena's outburst cost her a tennis match.

    Kanye has been vilified and mocked non-stop.

    Obama was off-camera and thought he had a private moment.

    Joe Wilson yelled "You Lie" to the President of the United States while he was addressing Congress when (I know this is hard for you Jim) he wasn't lieing.

    Grow up Jim, turn Fox news off and get a clue.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  94. Laura

    I am tired of Tweets, Twitter, etc. The media thinks they are immune to anything and everything. Look what the media is doing in the Yale case. Here is someone brought in, but he will be crucified (gulity or not) just because this day in age the media needs a story to keep our attention. What is the risk? Where is privacy? Obama can't tell his girls something without the media around? Those media personnel who tweeted what Obama said should have their press credentials removed. Simple as that. They can't tell when something is off the record and private then they shouldn't be in the business. They violated their ethics and even the higher ups know it.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  95. Knight

    What in the world the president is commenting about this !!! the president has better thing to do that minding everyone business. What is next !!!!.
    Obama !!! Do your job instead od noising other people business

    September 16, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  96. Glad to see Bipartisanship

    there is something D's and R's can agree on! Kanye West is a jack ass.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  97. nickyp

    Wilson was wrong not for what he said but where he said it and how he said it. Had he made his comments outside of the House, it wouldn't be an issue. He violated the rules of decorum and THAT'S why he was admonished.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  98. wheresmycountry

    Can we ask if Obama's remark about West was racially motivated? It seems to be a fair question about any criticism of Obama.

    September 16, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  99. jim vicalvi

    While I agree with obama, it seems that he has an opinion about everything. And, everybody knows what opinions are like!! obama, kahne and serena can all express their opinions and everything is just fine. But, Joe Wilson expresses his and immediately he is wrong. But, then, we all know what the first 3 share. IGNORANCE!!

    September 16, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  100. Del Kinell

    President Obama was right!

    September 16, 2009 at 10:41 am |
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